SURREY — With Surrey’s population rapidly increasing, is it time for the city to consider building a large arena?
Local investment banker Inde Sumal seems to think so.
Sumal is leading a group that wants to build a new 7,000-10,000 seat arena in Bridgeview, near Scott Road Station.
While Bridgeview is the main option, there are two other areas in Surrey that Sumal’s group is looking at.
If construction of the arena goes through, it would stand to be the largest arena and entertainment centre in Surrey.
“The purpose of the arena will be for a hockey team, with the ability to host concerts and community events.” said Sumal.
Sumal said his group “has a team looking to relocate,” but he would not comment on which team is looking at moving into the proposed arena.
— Philip Aguirre (@PhilipAguirre5) October 26, 2017
Very interesting. https://t.co/59TACpHelo
— Ramona Wildeman (@ramonawildeman) October 26, 2017
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Aside from hockey, Sumal wants the facility to be an entertainment venue for concerts.
“If there’s an artist that is too small for Rogers arena, they could make their way out here,” he said.
One of the main attractions for Sumal’s group is the rapid population growth of Surrey.
According to city estimates, Surrey’s population has grown by nearly 100,000 people over the last 10 years.
“We look at population growth when we do our research,” said Sumal. “We thought that perhaps Surrey could be the next hub for a large sports facility.”
He said the other benefit of the Bridgeview area is that it’s home to a major transit hub.
“Surrey has the transit, enabling the residents of Greater Vancouver to make their way Surrey,” said Sumal. “From a land-value perspective, it’s also advantageous.”
Both Sumal and Mayor Linda Hepner stress that discussions are in the preliminary stages.
“Sumal feels that the addition of a grade A calibre arena and entertainment facility would be a welcome amenity for a growing metropolis such as Surrey,” Hepner said.
“Discussions with the city are in the preliminary stages, but we’re encouraged with the responses that we are receiving from the city,” Sumal.
That ain't gonna fly. Better off spending the dough on a 20000 seat outdoor multi purpose stadium
— John Pothier (@johnpothier) October 26, 2017
Currently, the largest seated arena in Surrey is South Surrey Arena, home to the BCHL’s South Surrey Eagles. That arena holds 1,240 people.
Aside from Rogers Arena, Vancouver has two large facilities with the Pacific Coliseum and Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Arena at UBC. The largest arenas outside of Vancouver are Langley Events Centre, with 5,276 seats, and Abbotsford Centre, which has a maximum capacity of 8,500.
Based on Sumal’s comments, Surrey could be home to the largest arena in the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver.
This project is entirely separate from the proposal to build an outdoor soccer stadium in Surrey, which came to light earlier this month.
Potential franchise operators with the new Canadian Premier League want to build and operate an “outdoor spectator stadium” on city-owned land here.
The CPL is working with ownership groups to establish professional soccer franchises in key markets across Canada, according to league spokesperson Greg McIsaac.